Kaylyn & Eric: December 31, 2015.

New Year’s Eve weddings are always the best. Not only are guests there to celebrate a wedding, but to ring in the new year as well. This means that the party always goes well past midnight. Not only did Kaylyn & Eric have a fantastic event, but they also had the absolute best weather possible. There was a decent coating of snow on the ground and the air was fairly warm. Doesn’t hurt that they picked Apple Mountain for their entire event. It was an awesome Saginaw area wedding.

With winter weddings, timing is everything. Kaylyn and I worked extremely hard from the start with planning enough time for outdoor photographs. This paid off as we were successful in taking all of the outdoor photographs before the sun even started to set. Honestly, I didn’t feel any sort of a time crunch the entire day. Big thanks go out to their family and bridal party as well! They were extremely cooperative the entire day. There was no issues or confusion at all!

The reception was decked out in silver glitter and butterflies. It was a beautiful tribute to those loved ones no longer with us. Apple Mountain served a fantastic dinner while dessert was cupcakes from The Gourmet Cupcake Shoppe. DJ Corey Rusch manned the dance floor and caricature artists from Goofy Faces created unique party favors. Of course the night finished up with noise makers, fun hats, and lots of balloons. Did I mention there was even a nacho bar?

Please enjoy Kaylyn & Eric’s sneak peek! I had a wonderful time capturing your wedding day and ringing in the new year with you!

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Saginaw Winter Wedding at Apple Mountain.

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Be sure to like me on Facebook for all of my 2016 sneak peeks! www.facebook.com/ashleylynnphotography

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2015 Wrap Up!

Can you believe that we are in the final days of 2015? Yikes. Since it’s the end of the year, I figured it would be a great time to share some 2015 statistics (and fun, unseen photos) with you!

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Number of booked weddings
20 (the max that I accept a year).

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Top ceremony venue
Apple Mountain coming in with 5 weddings.

Top reception venue
Yet again, Apple Mountain with 3 receptions.

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Favorite new reception venue
A 3 way tie between The H Hotel, Crooked River Weddings, and The Milestone Barn. I did lots of traveling this year.

Most popular color
It’s a tie with 7 Blue and 7 Purple.

Most popular abnormal cake flavor
Banana!!! Yey, my favorite!!!

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Best Theme
Another tie! The first was a batman themed wedding and the second was U of M themed.

Best Weather
Hands down August was the most comfortable.

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Craziest Weather
October! One week it downpoured the entire day while the next it snowed during the outdoor ceremony. There really was no predicting the weather this year. Overall, 2015 was super sunny as well.

Unique Party Favor
Flavored popcorn bar. I couldn’t keep my hands off of the caramel apple.

Most played game
The shoe game! It’s definitely had an increase in popularity within the past few years.

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Scary Trend:
A few local reception venues trying to start the idea of “One Stop Shopping”. I highly recommend asking your venue coordinator for their suggestions on a DJ, photographer, florist, baker, and so forth. They work with many different vendors every single week and can help guide you in picking the best one for your specific event. The issue that I have been seeing lately comes down to venues having these type of vendors “on-staff”. They may offer a DJ at a great price, however there is a good chance that this vendor does not have professional experience nor the proper equipment for your wedding. There is even a better chance that these on-staff vendors have a separate full time job and only do weddings on the side. I cannot stress to you enough the importance of working with a full time vendor whose career is dedicated to weddings! I have had some awful experiences with this in larger areas like Detroit and Grand Rapids and recently found myself extremely disappointed in a few local (formally reliable) wedding venues. Do your homework. Never hire a wedding professional blindly through another.
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Awesome Trend
Huge props to my clients! This year has been overwhelmingly positive when it comes down to planning ahead. You guys have really taken to heart the issues that I cover during the initial consultation. Like I said before; my consultation’s purpose is not to sell my services to you, but to go over your event in order to make it the best possible. It is easier to fix problems a year in advance rather than 20 minutes out. The timelines AND family formal lists have been dead on. When I tell you to plan for 40 minutes of post ceremony, family formals, I mean 40 minutes. Yey for off of your 2015 awesomeness! (I would still like to see those photo guides showing up 30 days in advance. I’ve had a few show up rather late this year. Cough. Cough).

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All in all, 2015 was another great year for Ashley Lynn Photography. Looking forward to 2016 means some things as well:

Website
Some of you may have noticed a new website set up. Sometimes you just wake up in the middle of the night and decide to make some major changes. I will be updating the text and adding my 2015 portfolio soon, but my January will be mostly tied up with my 12/31 and 1/9 weddings. I am also looking into changing my website address a bit. Since legally settling on “Ashley Lynn Photography” in 2010, the name has been becoming a bit too popular for me. For safe measure, I will be adding in my last name to mix. I am not a huge fan of the alliteration, but starting in 2016 I will be working under my name “Ashley Lynn Plyler Photography” for social media purposes.

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Newborns
I’m excited to say that I’ve been warming up to the little ones. So after a 3+ year hiatus, in-home newborn photography has returned! I find it to be a bit more relaxing to sit in a new momma’s living room and work around the baby’s schedule rather than forcing them to pack up and travel to me in a strange studio. I am offering special pricing for this service until March 2016. Don’t get too excited, my husband and I still have no intention of having our own children. Ha Ha!

Family Sessions
I have replaced lots of equipment this year. New cameras, new computer, new flash system; life is good. With this digital improvement, my productivity has skyrocketed. For 2016, I will be accepting regular family sessions. I have never offered this in the course of my business. Normally I do one day in the Spring and one in the Fall, this year will be anytime outside of the busy wedding weeks.

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Seniors
I’m considering it, but I’m not quite sold yet. My experiences while working with other professional studios hasn’t been the best. Senior photography requires lots of dedication to editing, communication, and administrative work. I dedicate my career to 20 weddings a year and it’s just not fair to my brides to split my time up around seniors. I will revisit the idea once I’m settled into a physical studio.

Studio
Yep, I said it. I have been a freelancing it around the Tri-City area since 2009, it’s time to settle down. My husband and I will be starting the process of selling our house towards the end of 2016. It’s a scary thing, but necessary. Our new home will include a separate studio space just for my business. Due to the all of the legal/ insurance/ zoning issues, I have no idea on when or if this will happen. Rest assured, you all will be invited to a giant housewarming party filled with 90s music, junk food, and silly games.

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See everyone in 2016!

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Rachel & Robby: November 7, 2015

November weddings are always a fun challenge. It is pretty much dark by 5:15, which means I have to create a hard-core game plan ahead of time. Thankfully for me, Rachel & Robby decided to hold their entire wedding at Horizons Conference Center. It was wonderful photographing the bridal party getting dressed, the ceremony, and reception all in one location. Even though we only had the opportunity for a few outdoor photographs, we were still able to capture the entire day fantastically.

A football theme slowly became more apparent as the day went on. From the vows to the guest table, Rachel’s love for Roll Tide and Robby’s for the Geaux Tigers made for a day full of healthy competition. Did I mention that the Alabama versus Louisiana State game happened to fall on this same day? Maybe that wasn’t a coincidence. . . Enjoy!

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Kelly & Andru: October 23, 2015

I love going to new places. Fortunately, the past 6 years of photographing events have taken me all over Michigan and the surrounding areas. Kelly & Andru’s wedding was no exception. The Milestone Barn in Bannister is just big enough for a medium sized wedding, but not too large as to lose its charm. Just walking into the bridal suite I was impressed with the property. Natural lighting, chandeliers, and vintage seating; I instantly fell in love with the entire place.  The Milestone barn definitely offers a unique experience that I have not found anywhere else.

I think the thing that I most loved about Kelly & Andru’s wedding is how laid back everything was. In lieu of a DJ, they opted for an acoustic band. They served their guests Andru’s favorite pie (pumpkin for the win) with cupcakes for the kids . There was even an appearance of self serve caramel apple popcorn. Overall, it was a fantastic day that I am extremely grateful to have been apart of. Enjoy!

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Lindsay & Turner: October 17, 2015

Mid-Michigan has had some strange weather this wedding season. Very strange, even for Michigan. Lindsay & Turner’s wedding definitely wins the crazy weather award for the year. Due to the abnormally cold temperature, we almost decided to move their outdoor ceremony inside. I am extremely happy with Lindsay & Turner’s decision to proceed outside. Dealing with the cold for 20 minutes was completely worth it. We started with cloudy skies, had some fun snow mid-ceremony, and ended with their first kiss surrounded by absolutely perfect sunshine.

I had so much fun working with Lindsay & Turner! From the pre-ceremony craziness, to the photo time fun, to the reception shenanigans; the day just went fantastically. It also didn’t hurt that I have worked with most of the bridal party previously. As for the guys, they didn’t scare me. It takes quite a bit to scare me! (For now).

Enjoy!

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Snowing during an October ceremony? That’s a first for me!
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Be sure to like me on Facebook!
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This was taken during the end of the MSU vs U of M game. The wedding pretty much stopped at this point.
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Frankee & Jacob: October 10, 2015

Who doesn’t love going home? With Frankee & Jacob’s wedding, I was able to return to my college alma mater. As much as I love working at Founders Hall, it does bring me back to one rather cold winter. For my 4×5 large format film final, I decided to photograph structures. I am still not sure how I thought that was a good idea. All I can remember was hauling this 50 pound camera box from my car, through the Michigan snow, and onto the Founders Hall bridge. After actually getting my equipment onto the bridge, I had to unpack everything and take the photograph. For those of you who haven’t had the honor of working in large format, it is not a quick progress. Ah, the memories.

I absolutely loved working with Frankee & Jacob. Their family was extremely attentive and did everything possible to help out with the festivities. I am rather fond of some of the reactions I saw. Instead of dad getting super mushy at the first sight of Frankee, he simply turned around. Both bride and dad did a “Don’t look at me or I’m going to cry”. It was super entertaining, as both parties did it in perfect unison.

After the ceremony, we stopped at a few social venues to visit with friends and family. Frankee, Jacob, and their bridal party were super laid back and easy to get along with. I always appreciate that. The party continued at the Kawkawlin Township Hall with lots of food, drinks, and dancing. It was an honor photographing Mr. & Mrs. Milkowski’s big day!

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Don’t forget to check me out on Facebook!

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Chelsea & Jason: October 3, 2015

Chelsea & Jason put a great deal of thought into their wedding. They designed the entire day around honoring certain parts of their lives. The Sample wedding was 100% about family. Unfortunately, this beautiful image of a perfect outdoor barn wedding was interrupted by a hurricane. Granted, Michigan is far from the ocean; however, the traditional weather patterns that we are accustomed to were negatively affected. Basically it rained. Freezing rain all day long.

Instead of the rain just passing over the state as it normally does, it circled over us for the course of the entire event. This completely altered all plans. They decided to proceed with the outdoor ceremony anyway, however, delayed about 90 minutes to allow the rain to let up. With the delay, we did lose out on quite a bit of photo time and daylight. Fortunately, I was able to capture lots of raw emotion through photojournalism.

Even though things didn’t go as planned, the photographs that I was able to capture really encapsulate what this wedding was truly about. Love. Love between the newlyweds, love between the parents, love between the family, love for those no longer with us, and most importantly, the love between one generation to the next.

 

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Be sure to like my Facebook page to stay up to date on my latest sneak peeks!
www.facebook.com/ashleylynnphotography

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